New technology reacts in real-time to make pedestrians, cyclists and drivers safer and more aware of each other.
An aspect of life that is taught to children from an early age, crossing the road safely is something everyone has to do on a daily basis. Although lesson learnt as a child will always be useful, new technology created by insurer Direct Line and built by urban design specialists Umbrellium hopes to encapsulate drivers into the safe crossing experience. The Starling Crossing – or Stigmergic Adaptive Responsive Learning Crossing – uses familiar and understandable road markings and colours to react to different conditions in real-time. The crossing is able to modify the patterns, layout, configuration, size and orientation of pedestrian crossings in order to prioritise pedestrian safety. The entire road surface at the crossing area is monitored by cameras and embedded with computer-controlled LEDs that can be seen from all angles during both day and night.
Acting upon research by the Transport Research Laboratory, the full-scale prototype has been temporarily installed in South London, England, and is designed to support the weight of vehicles, remain slip-free in pouring rain and to display markings bright enough to be seen during daytime. Using a neural network framework, cameras track objects that are moving across the road surface, distinguishing between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, calculating their precise locations, trajectories and velocities and anticipating where they may move to in the next moment. If a person is distracted, looking down at their mobile, and veers too close to the road surface when a car is nearby, a warning pattern lights around them to fill their field of vision. If a child runs into the road unexpectedly, a large buffer zone is created around them to make their trajectory clear to any nearby drivers or cyclists.
Roads are not simply just tarmac in the modern day, with developments in technology making them smarter than ever before. In Tel Aviv, wireless technology has been installed within the roads so electric cars can charge as they drive, and sensors are helping drivers in India navigate round the most dangerous hairpin bends. How could smart roads boost efficiency in your business operations?